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Women's Madness: A Material-Discursive-Intrapsychic Approach
Women's madness: A material-discursive-intrapsychic approach

Women's madness is a subject that has fascinated artists, poets, playwrights, and novelists for centuries. Representations of woman as mad range from the dangerous harridan in the attic to the melancholic maiden languishing helplessly on her bed; all stand as reminders of the potential mysteries and dangers lurking beneath the external signifiers of ‘woman.’ But making madness synonymous with femininity isn't merely a matter of misogynist fantasy or fear. Mental health statistics still attest to the preponderance of women deemed ‘mad,’1 and in need of statutory regulation (Bebbington, 1996; Busfield, 1996). Community surveys, hospital admissions, and statistics on outpatient treatment, both medical and psychological, all concur: adult women report more mental health problems than men, and ...

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